The world’s “saddest polar bear” is to be moved from China’s Grandview Shopping Mall to an aquatic theme park in northern China where he was born.
The bear, known as Pizza, is to be reunited with his parents on Sunday, according to the Humane Society International.
The NGO was among several animal charities leading an international campaign to have Pizza moved after he exhibited signs of distress in videos.
It is unclear if the move is permanent. A Weibo post monitored by activists in China noted a statement from the mall saying Pizza would be transferred temporarily owing to renovations.
“Pizza the polar bear has endured a life of deprivation and suffering in his small, artificial glass-fronted room at the shopping mall, so the news that he’s getting out at last makes me very happy and relieved for him, Dr Peter Li, China Policy Expert at Humane Society International, said.
“But we implore the Mall to make this a permanent move for Pizza and to not condemn him to return. At last he will feel the sun on his fur, sniff fresh air and see the sky above him in the company of his mum and dad. No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal, and to send him back now would be cruel and heartless. We commend the Mall for being gracious enough to listen to Chinese and global voices of concern, and hope they will do the right thing for this poor bear who has already been through enough,” he added.